Scope of this Document​

The Higher Education Institution COVID-19 Response Tool Kit (HEI-CR Tool Kit) has been designed as a standalone document that can be used by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to identify potential areas of planning their academic continuity during the times of COVID-19 or disruptions of similar nature.

The HEI-CR Tool Kit has been created for universities, colleges, and standalone academic institutions. Nothing suggested here may be fully applicable in a specific context. The scenarios covered are generic and we hope that each HEI will be able to find something suitable to its specific context and needs. This Tool Kit is based on the understanding that the HEIs worldwide are structured along similar lines and carry out a similar range of activities (i.e. teaching, research, and community work), though with varying degrees of focus and effect.

The goal of this document is to minimise the probability of missing key aspects of academic planning and continuity. There is high uncertainty owing to COVID-19. The continuity of activities at HEIs is critical but any action plan has to take into consideration the context specific factors and may need to be executed in different formats. At a given point, this document hopes to serve as a checklist so that HEIs do not miss taking decisions on crucial aspects of operations and can coordinate effectively and effiently to carry out their tasks concerning academic affairs during and post COVID-19.

  • The HEI-CR Tool Kit is designed to act as a guide for various stakeholders corresponding to the governance of HEIs.

  • HEI Leadership – This includes Vice Chancellors, Rectors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, Registrars, Deans of Schools/Departments, Academic and non-Academic

  • Directors – This includes leadership of various offices and research centres including but not limited to Directors/ Executive Directors/ Presidents of various units such as Career Services Office, Admissions Office, International Affairs Office,

  • Faculty Members – This will help faculty members understand the implications of actions of the institution and the changes in their

  • Individual Schools/Departments – This will help shape the academic response and facilitate coordination among schools/departments across the

  • Student Community and Student Council – This document can be used by students to help them understand the implications of institutional actions and ensure that the institution is taking action on all items concerning their safety, overall well-being and future.

    This document hopes to serve as a checklist so that HEIs do not miss taking decisions on crucial aspects of operations and can coordinate effectively and efficiently to carry out their tasks concerning academic affairs during and post COVID-19.

  • Administrative Leadership and Administration Teams – This will help leadership and teams corresponding to Information Technology (IT), Human Resources (HR), Facility Management, Student Housing/ Hostel Management and other administrative stakeholders to understand additional infrastructure and protocols required in sync with the choice of format for continuity of

  • Higher Education Regulators – This document will also play a role in helping regulatory bodies, accreditation units, and government authorities to take policy decisions for maintaining academic continuity and to assess the necessary support

The HEI-CR Tool Kit is meant to serve only as a guiding document based on the general structure of an HEI. Each HEI may have specific requirements besides elements mentioned in this tool kit. Based on its context, location and profile, each HEI will respond to the ongoing pandemic differently. The tool kit is by no means exhaustive, but a compilation of recommendations that may be utilised as reference points while planning the way forward for HEIs in times of COVID-19 to ensure academic planning and continuity.

While this document lists the points for consideration during the planning of academic continuity based on certain assumptions, it is important to ensure that WHO advisories, ICMR guidelines, Central and State Government regulations, Ministry of Education, Government of India regulations/guidelines, and guidelines/regulations of UGC or/and any other regulatory body are adhered to at all times and that they supersede any recommendation made in this document.

Additionally, institutions need to consider context-specific parameters while customising their approach. Ensuring regulatory compliance should be the primary factor taken into consideration.

  • Academic discipline of studies
  • Pedagogy
  • Geographic location of the institution
  • Profile of the students, faculty and staff
  • Localised impact of COVID-19
  • Financial implications
  • Regulatory compliance

It is also recommended that HEIs keep in mind the specific and differentiated needs of graduating batches, penultimate batches, incoming batches and other batches, and the remaining stakeholders and ensure that decisions are not changed frequently during the semester to ensure consistency and effectiveness of the teaching- learning process.

Abbreviations/Acronyms

 

TERM

FULL FORM

ACP

Academic Continuity Plan/Planning

AI

Artificial Intelligence

AR

Augmented Reality

CCTV

Closed-circuit television

CGPA

Cumulative Grade Point Average

CHO

Chief Health Officer

CR

Class Representative

DG

Diesel Generator

FICCI

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

FTTH

Fiber to the Home

GER

Gross Enrolment Ratio

HEI

Higher Education Institution

HEI-CRT

Higher Education Institution COVID-19 Response Tool Kit

HR

Human Resources

HEI-C19R

Higher Education Institution COVID-19 Response

IRB

Institutional Review Boards

IT

Information Technology

LMS

Learning Management System

MOOC

Massive Open Online Course

OBC

Other Backward Classes

OPM

Online Programme Management

PDF

Portable Document Format

PPE

Personal Protective Equipment

RERB

Research Ethics Review Board

SC

Scheduled Caste

SMS

Short Message Service

ST

Scheduled Tribe

T&L

Teaching and Learning

UGC

University Grants Commission

UPS

Uninterrupted Power Supply

VC

Vice Chancellor

V-con

Video Conferencing

WHO

World Health Organization


Sources

The information provided in this document is based on various excerpts available in public domain via news media, social media, or university websites, and these may have been considered in full or part. This document includes examples and references of the current and existing implementation of academic continuity strategies in various other institutions such as University of Notre Dame – USA, Punjab Engineering College – India, Imperial College London, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) – India, etc.

 

The HEI-CR Tool Kit extensively refers to the ‘COVID-19 Campus Readiness Plan for Health, Safety, Security and Well Being’ of JGU which is based on the advisories of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, National Centre for Disease Control, Health Department of the Government of Haryana, the Municipal Corporation of Sonipat, national and international standard-setting bodies including the World Health Organization.

 

The HEI-CR Tool Kit also refers to the initiatives taken up by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) to promote the online learning capacity.

 

This document refers to the contribution of individuals and institutions who have put their ideas in public domain, either through articles in newspapers, other online media or through sharing documents on their websites, also cited in the document. The document also includes certain recommendations as per the FICCI (The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) – WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines. Data on Indian Higher Education landscape has been sourced from various documents including the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) Report 2018-19.